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Commission rejects earlier motion to halt vacation rentals

By Rick Catlin, Islander Reporter

Anna Maria commissioners meeting in a special session Jan. 29, voted 3-1 to rescind a motion the commission passed Jan. 24 that halted all vacation rentals of less than 30 days in the Residential 1 zone.

R-1 encompasses all residential properties with the exception of the residential-office-retail land use. After hearing of the imminent complications of enforcement, commissioners voted to rescind the motion. Commissioner Chuck Webb, who introduced the Jan. 24 motion, voted against the measure.

Commissioner Dale Woodland voted against the Jan. 24 motion, saying then they should first get legal analysis and hold more discussion. Commission Chair John Quam and Gene Aubry agreed with Woodland at the Jan. 29 meeting. Commissioner Nancy Yetter was absent.

Woodland introduced a motion to rescind the Jan. 24 vote that was seconded by Aubry, who amended the motion to add urgency to solving the city’s rental problems.

Although Webb opposed rescinding his Jan. 24 motion, he suggested commissioners meet at 6 p.m. every Thursday until they find solutions to the nuisances caused by an abundance of vacation rentals in the city.

Webb claimed in his Jan. 24 motion that the city already prohibited vacation rentals of less than 30 days in the R-1 zone. Commissioners will hold a work session to begin seeking solutions on rentals at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31.

19 Responses to Commission rejects earlier motion to halt vacation rentals

  1. john foster says:

    Of course tbey need to rescind. IF this was to actually be enforced the lawsuits would fall like rain. In addition, there are so many houses where the weekly revenues are needed to make the bank payments. If this were to actually happen there would be a fire sale, bankruptcies, etc.

    The island has more police running around than any other small community i have ever seen. And in A.M….they do very little other than make sure people dont speed. If renters are breaking rules…send in the cops to enforce regulations. Dont change the rules!

  2. RAMC says:

    This is just another intrusion into the private business of people who live on the Island by people who have no clue how to run Government. It is the personal business of people if they want to do short-term rentals. It is just another example of Government out of control and trying to tell everyone how to conduct business.

    • jeff young says:

      Amen !!! Whatever happened to private property rights.Way to much government intrusion in this beautiful little berg.Police state.

  3. Bill McDonald says:

    What an idiotic suggestion. But having dealt with Mr Webb on an issue around the delays in the placement of Plank Piers that people had paid hundreds of dollars for and getting no support its the sort of thing I would have sort of expected him to be involved in. I have been coming to Island for over 25 years but we are looking at going elsewhere now and back towards Siesta Key as AMI is changing so much with the stupidity of people like Webb and its so sad . A once fab Island now being run by robots and its sad to see.

  4. SYDNEY SCHIEVE says:

    I have owned a condo in Holmes Beach for thirty years. We have large beautiful homes on the street next to our condo. In that location there had been a home with drug dealers. I have NEVER heard loud noise nor have I ever had concerns regarding the tenants of the new homes On the other hand I have had problems for YEARS with the sand blower on the public beach being used from any where from 3:00 AM to 6:00 AM. My complaints go on deaf ears. I have never had a code enforcement officer help. Homes Beach has a noise ordnance of 10:00 PM to 7:00 AM.

  5. Gary McMullen says:

    It must be an accident that reason finally prevailed on the council. Personally I do not have a problem with a 30 day minimum rental. But the issue on this entire island is: Don’t overlegislate; Don’t take away homeowner’s rights; Act for the RESIDENTS! You all asked for the swarm of people for years, now you don’r have a clue what to do now that you have too many visitors. Keep the 6 lots use as a park and not for parking for visitors. Let them ride the trolly.

  6. dale schmitdz says:

    This is about fraud and tax evasion. The state statutes require resorts to be inspected and registered. They are required to pay resort taxes. Only 30 percent bother. Most of the realtors comply. The rest are freeloaders
    . Check out who benefits and follow the money. I thought the police were already doing that.

  7. Bob Haury says:

    Commissioner Chuck Webb, who introduced the Jan. 24 motion, voted against the measure. Mr Webb needs to be removed from his office as soon as possible.

  8. Mike says:

    I am a frequent visitor to the island from Canada and own two income properties on AMI. I have been following the commissions motion and subsequent reversal of the proposed restriction on vacation rentals.
    This is so ridicules it is almost laughable. Is this commission for real or is it filled with complete neophytes?
    In my opinion anyone sitting on the commission that voted in favor of such a radical motion should step down immediatly, especially Mr. Chuck Webb. Clearly Mr. Webb and any others that voted in favor of this motion have complete and utter disregard for the economic viability of AMI and the well being of its island business owners.
    AMI residents….it’s time to wake up! These commissioners are elected officials that have only their own agenda at heart and zero business acumen.
    Clearly this issue stems from the opposition with a few builders and in particular Shawn Kaleta of Beach to Bay. Like it or not, he’s one of the smartest business owners on the island right now. If the city or residents don’t like what Kaleta is building because they feel it threatens the character of the island, than bring a motion to change the local zoning by-laws. Don’t blame him for submitting plans that meet all the local zoning regulations when City Hall is giving him the permits.
    Instead of taking a reasonable and calculated approach to this problem, Mr. Webb decides to lash out at all rental owners proposing no more short term rentals…really…what a complete joke.
    I love AMI and take a great deal of pride in owning property on the island, but it really is time to elect more responsible commissioners that understand diplomacy and business.

    • Miller says:

      First, sir, you and all the other out of towners need to understand you are guests here. If you don’t like the way we govern, you have lots of choices. Those of us who care about the city of Anna Maria have had to fight for years to prevent our city from going the way of numerous other barrier island communities. You want to ruin it? Find another city.

      • Mike says:

        Mr. Miller,
        It would appear that at least 50% of the residence do not agree with the way AMI is being governed and keep in mind, I am not a full time resident yet but I will be someday.
        If I wanted to ruin the island, I would not have made a significant investment in AMI real estate. Some change is inevitable and it’s all about reaching a balance.
        What the island doesn’t need is radical commissioners bringing more harm to the city than good.
        We love the island and our neighbours. We often turn away large groups that try to rent from us in an effort to be a courteous to our full time resident neighbours.

  9. yvonne and vera says:

    We have been coming to AMI for several years but I can’t take more than two weeks off work at a time. I’m sure there must be a lot of people in that situation. So as much as I’d love to stay for a longer period, it’s just not possible. If the legislation stood we too would be looking at going somewhere else

  10. Lynn LaMar says:

    When I first moved to Anna Maria back in the 80′s, the Island was a close-knit, family oriented, working class paradise. That wasn’t good enough for the Grand Poobahs’ with the money stars in their eyes…Now the Island is exactly what they created and they don’t have the where with all or common sense to govern and control the ‘monster’ they’ve created. Nice goin, genius’es.

  11. Robert Bodell says:

    when I grew up on AMI it was residential and the only tourists either stayed in the trailer park for the summer or came out on weekends to go to the beach and brought a picnic basket and left nothing but trash.

    Nothing is written in stone any more. Things change and now the island depends on tourism to survive. Like me most people either have to rent or move away as I did. The island is beautiful but hardly the vacation mecca of the world. You can still show up most of the year without a reservation and find a place in a few hours at the most. It costs a lot of money to own and maintain property on the island. nobody is going to invest in property that is not going to show a profit and soon there won’t be any tourists at all.

    If the island is going to prosper you have to give the visitors what they want. With the economy like it is, it is a wonder people can take two weeks off of work to come here. If they have to only rent by the month they will go elsewhere where they can stay for a week or two.

  12. Sandra D'Amato says:

    To anyone that states that they only get a week or 2 off from work, there are still places to stay on the island that will do this- the resorts all except weekly rentals, as for anyone else that has “income property”. So be it! We are tired of what happened to this great place or don’t you understand that? many of you just sit up north and don’t have a clue to who is staying at your place just as long as you have the income!! This island is just too small to accomodate everyone that wants to vacation here! remember that many people lived here well before you came and vacationed here! These are peoples full time homes here, they go to work, are active in the community, have childre in school here…don’t you people understand this!!!! No, it all comes down to the money!

  13. Kim Cleghorn says:

    I am very sad and perplexed about the recent decisions by the AMI city commision. I own a home on AMI that I rent for periods of time to help defray the costs until my husband and I can afford to retire hopefully to Anna Maria. Am I a villain for needing rental income in order to provide a sanctuary for myself, my children, and future grandchildren? We also sadly bought at the top of the market so selling is out of the question. We would possibly face foreclosure, at the very least, financial hardship.
    There seems to be such a callous, selfish attitude among some of the “residents’ and commisioners. How many of them were born on the island? How many are natives? I would postulate that they rented somewhere on the island before they bought their homes. How many of them are now retired and don’t have to worry about educating their children before they can retire? It would seem that their is no consideration of those who want the “dream” that they already have achieved.
    Bad decisions, fear of progress, elitism, tunnel vision, and a general “forgetting where they came from” can all be rationalized and spun in a more palatable way. I, for one, am embarrased and hope that when I retire and become a “resident” that all of the current commisioners Have gone the way of Harry S.

  14. Nancy says:

    As an owner and future full time resident, I am appalled at the commissioner’s actions. Absolutely little to no thought was given to making a major ruling affecting the lives of so many on the island. After reading a “memo” in the morning from another commissioner, who snuck this item onto the agenda at the last minute the same day of the meeting and thus making a ruling based on the memo of one commissioner’s viewpoint? YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME??? Where on earth was the statical analysis leading up to such a monumental vote? From my viewpoint the commissioners are leading with their emotions and personal agendas. The message reads “You can’t afford to rent monthly or maintain a house without renting it then you don’t belong here. Only the affluent are now welcome.”
    The commissioners need to be RESPECTFUL and RESPONSIBLE in their local governmental actions.
    A commissioner should be committed to pursuing an ever more sustainable region by taking a long-term view and considering the social, economic and environmental costs and benefits of all decisions. They should be identifying priorities for the short term and long term periods. And from there break down their strategic goals to accomplish this.
    If the issue is too many large homes that don’t suit the strategic plan or threaten the future infrastructure of the island then the building codes need to be amended.
    If the issue is too many noise violations, then identify what percentage this represents out of the total and confirm if it is a general or isolated issue. Then amend where needed.
    The rash and radical actions of the current commissioners are proof that these people ABSOLUTELY DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING and are completely unqualified to make decisions that impact both citizens and the environment for future generations.
    I can only pray that during this term, permanent damage to the economic and environmental future of the island through their ignorance does not result.

  15. Sandra D'Amato says:

    Nancy your article says it all, FUTURE resident. And yes permanent damage to both the economic and environmental future has already been done, this Island wasn’t a motel until they starting letting in short term rentals!!!! It figures only the seasonal rentals are angry!! What about the community we lost??? Good luck in being a future resident because you too will be surrounded by these very same people day in and day out, and I bet you will be the one complaining then!

  16. Nancy says:

    Ms D’Amato,

    I believe you’ve missed the point of my comments altogether. My reactions were to the radical behaviour and rash decision making of the commissioners (with the exception of Dale Woodland – who seems to be the only level headed one ). My arguments are supported by the very admittance of commissioner John Quam & Gene Aubry who conceded that they voted hastily on Jan. 24th based on Webb’s 13 page memo and did not take sufficient time to study the ramifications for the city.
    It was also well put by Dale Woodland that stated the vote “was a knee jerk reaction to the pent up frustration turned loose by residents during the meeting.”
    Voting on something as monumental as this issue within 24 hours of receiving a memo and not taking the necessary time to study the ramifications is completely IRRESPONSIBLE!
    Just refer to the city of Venice, Fla. which is fighting a lawsuit filed against the city for trying to limit the rights of property owners. It is costing them millions of dollars in litigation fees. I’m sure that the city of Anna Maria has not budgeted for such an event. It is the duty of a commissioner to take into consideration all the effects of their decision making processes.
    You may be surprised to find that we owners who do not have the good fortune of living in Anna Maria yet do support most of the items being brought to the table. I for one am in full support of amending building codes in keeping with the lifestyle and building landscape of the island. After all that’s what we and many others fell in love with when deciding to purchase real estate on the island.
    However, trying to villainize and limit the property rights of homeowners with a short term rental ban, which would result in a decrease of economic dollars into the city by 60% or more, as well as decreasing property values and bringing financial hardship to rental home owners to name a few repercussions is not the way to proceed responsibly.
    I know full and well what I will be getting myself into when I am a resident of the island. That’s why we follow and inform all of our guests of the ordinances and turn away any large wedding parties, etc… We RESPECT our neighbours. After all Anna Maria was developed by original residents George Bean and Charles Roser as a vacation destination and it always will be. It’s for everyone to enjoy. And yes, Sandra, you are right if vacationers are not following the noise ordinances I dare say I will call the sheriff’s department. But I will follow the guidelines and laws set forth when doing so and not with a knee jerk reaction of pent up frustration.

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